Robert College is located above the old village of Arnavutköy in a sixty-five acre wooded area overlooking the Bosphorus. In this green oasis, the school is secluded from the fast-growing urban sprawl of Istanbul yet the city center is easily accessible by boat, bus, or taxi. Many of the classrooms, offices, and dormitories for the school's boarders occupy buildings constructed in the early 20th centuries and bear the style and solidity of that era. They have all been recently renovated to meet contemporary needs. The academic program is complemented by new well-equiped facilities -- theatre, gymnasium and science center. The modern library/information center (45,000 volumes) and the computer center are networked to accommodate new informational technology--as are faculty offices – and all the academic buildings are wireless. Athletic facilities and faculty housing, of various styles, grace the campus. The main playing field and running track command a panoramic view of the Bosphorus and the bridges linking Europe and Asia. In short, the school's setting and facilities are superior by any standard, and unparalleled in Turkey.
The intellectual power of the students is extraordinary, since they are admitted on the basis of having achieved the highest scores on a national entrance exam for private schools. Unlike many international schools, turnover in the student body is almost nonexistent. English, mathematics, science, physical education, music, art, and various electives are taught in English primarily by native-English speaking teachers. Turkish Language and Literature, and the Social Sciences are taught by Turkish nationals. The wide range of extra-curricular activities compares with the best American schools.
If you are a teacher excited by the idea of a school with an unusually high number of very able students, Robert College should interest you. If you are a Mathematics or Science teacher, you may well be particularly intrigued, since the students have a strong aptitude and appetite for these subjects. Each year, for example, the average score of the graduating class on the Math SAT is over 700, with many scores of 800. If you are an English teacher, you will teach students with exceptional intellect and conceptual skills who use English as a second language to master serious literature. Many aspects of English are therefore brought into play in an intense teaching environment.
Turkish students, many of whom are accustomed to highly structured, "top-down" teaching, are hungry for the interactive qualities of good teaching. At the same time, they demand much of their teachers in both style and substance, within and beyond the classroom. Teachers not competent in their fields would find it rough going; the well-prepared and intellectually adventurous teacher finds a true and satisfying challenge.
Robert College also offers the excitement and challenge of working in a school which itself is working to change the educational system of which it is a part. One is sometimes frustrated by restrictions or procedures mandated by Turkey's Ministry of Education, but knowing that one's curricular ideas and teaching methods might be adopted on a nation-wide basis can produce a sense of genuine accomplishment. Since the choice of materials and methods can be limiting, teachers must sometimes refine their skills, and in some cases, even redefine their roles as teachers. Robert College can provide the relatively inexperienced teacher with an exhilarating experience and lead the experienced teacher to re-examine the principles of his or her craft.
Istanbul, a city close to many ancient sites, is truly a special place where east meets west. An historian's playground, it is a fascinating, fast-changing city, full of surprises and dichotomies. One sees women dressed in the latest fashion shopping with conservative women with headcovering. On campus, one hears both church bells and the mosque's call to prayer. Cultural opportunities of the highest order abound in the city’s many concert halls, museums and galleries.
Its geopolitical location between west and east, the recent growth of the Turkish economy, and the country’s efforts to gain EU membership have brought Turkey into the forefront of the world’s awareness. It should also be noted that the Turkish people are famous for the hospitality extended to foreigners. Indeed, many of us who have lived in or near cities in other parts of the world feel safer and more "at home" in Istanbul than we felt elsewhere.
There are countless reasons to experience Turkey and Istanbul, only a few of which are mentioned above. Turkish cuisine is superb. The culture is different but accessible to anyone making an effort to understand. For much of the year, the climate is ideal. The Turks are, indeed, an extraordinarily hospitable people. Naturally, however, we would hope that the primary attraction of coming to Robert College would be the opportunity to commit one's talents to teaching extraordinarily talented students in a school that is making a uniquely significant contribution to one of the world's important countries.